Monthly Archives: September 2015

Planning application for £16 million hotel at Amex stadium

From Brighton & Hove News

Brighton and Hove Albion have submitted a planning application to build a £16 million 150-bed hotel and specialist cancer treatment centre next to the American Express Community Stadium.

The plans have gone into Brighton and Hove City Council and Lewes District Council because the site straddles both local authority areas.

The hotel would be known as the Brighton Aloft.

Albion said: “Both the hotel and cancer treatment centre are subject to a business case and board approval – by Albion and the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust respectively.

American Express Community Stadium“Upon completion, it is expected that the hotel complex would provide an additional £5.8 million in revenue each year to the local economy and 82 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs – filled by local people.

“The hotel, which would be operated in partnership with an experienced hotel operator, will help Albion develop a stronger residential conference offering to help serve and increase the non-matchday business at the stadium.

“It will also provide visitor accommodation for football supporters coming to matches and visitors to the two universities, serve those seeking access to the South Downs National Park and enable business travellers using the A27 to stay overnight without needing to drive into Brighton and Hove city centre.

“The hotel site straddles both Brighton and Hove City Council and Lewes District Council boundaries and will be considered by both local planning authorities in early 2016 and, if approved, will open to guests in the summer 2017.

“The development is being overseen by longstanding Albion director Martin Perry, who has been responsible for the successful delivery of the stadium and training ground developments.”

Mr Perry said: “This is another exciting development by Brighton and Hove Albion and will help us attract additional business to the stadium and local economy – and provide another community facility with invaluable health, social and economic benefits.

“We are now working on the tender documents for the project and the hotel is subject to board approval, once tenders have been received and the full costs of the development have been established.”

The investment in the project will add to the £152 million already invested by the club in the American Express Community Stadium and Elite Football Performance Centre.

“To date, the stadium alone has contributed on average £38 million per annum to the local economy while a recent report by financial experts KPMG projected that the two hugely successful Rugby World Cup matches held in Brighton last weekend would contribute £46 million to the local economy alone.

“In addition, it has already created over 1,000 FTE jobs (including 400 construction jobs) and it is estimated to have also indirectly created approximately 600 jobs in other businesses.”

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Blocked drains?

Cityclean plan to clear the drains and gullies in our area in December.

If you are aware of any that are blocked please let us know the location (as accurately as possible) via a comment on this post or our Facebook page so that we can inform them in advance.

Cityclean have also informed us that they will be spraying the pavements to deal with weeds by mid-October, this has been delayed by the recent rain.

Work commences at Rampion Offshore Wind Farm

From Brighton & Hove Business

Work will begin this week at the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm, in readiness for the first foundation installation in January.

This will include clearing boulders on the seabed along the cable route and around each of the 116 foundation positions to allow safe and effective installation.

Chris Tomlinson, E.ON Development Manager for the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm, said: “After five years in development, following successful consultation, consent and contracting, we’re delighted to be able to confirm that work will commence this week to prepare the seabed for turbine installation.

“Assessment of the number of boulders is still underway but is likely to be in the thousands and up to six vessels will be on site to undertake the work over the next many months. Great efforts will be made to replicate the seabed as it is now and all boulders moved will be weighed and the new position recorded. Details of the new positions of the boulders will be made freely available to sea users.

We will continue to issue Notices to Mariners to keep sea users informed of these works.”

This coincides with work commencing onshore, with the first of 12 stages of the onshore project which started in early September to the south of the Upper Brighton Road, Worthing.

Access points will be constructed first to allow construction of a haul road along the cable route.

This will be followed by trenching works to lay the ducting for the cables, and finally, the reinstatement of the ground.

Work will start on building the onshore substation in Twineham towards the end of September.

“Throughout the Rampion project’s progress we’ve worked hard to keep the local community informed of our activities and over the last three months community events have been held at locations along the cable route in Lancing, Steyning, Henfield and Twineham, where we were pleased to be able to update over 500 local people of our construction plans,” added Chris.

When the turbines are fully complete in early 2018 the electricity cables will come ashore at the Brooklands Pleasure Park in Worthing and will transport power along 27km of underground onshore cable to the new substation at Twineham where it will be connected to the grid.

During the planned 3 year offshore construction period it is estimated that around 250 to 300 jobs will be created. A workforce of up to 100 will be employed for the onshore cable route and around a further 40 to 60 people at the onshore substation during construction.  Once the wind farm is commissioned and fully operational, it is envisaged that up to 65 full time permanent jobs will be created at the operations and maintenance base which will be advertised locally and will include two apprenticeship roles per year for at least three years.

Approval has also been received from Lewes District Council Planning Committee for the wind farm’s operations and maintenance base at Newhaven Port. The design is expected to be finalised over the winter period with construction planned to commence later next year.

Lewes Road cycling scheme wins again

From The Argus

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A cycling scheme has scooped its fifth award for linking up Brighton city centre with destinations along the Lewes Road.

Brighton and Hove City Council has won the Best Cycle Network Infrastructure Award at the Cycle Planning Awards ceremony for the Lewes Road scheme.

The network connects central Brighton to the universities, the American Express Community Stadium and Stanmer Park, along with the neighbourhoods along the route.

The scheme provided improved cycle lanes along the three-mile stretch and a priority bus lane for buses.

This latest award marks the fifth time the scheme has won since it was implemented by the council under the Green administration, with funding by the Government.

Councillor Pete West, Green spokesman on transport, said: “This is now the fifth award that we have received, citing the Lewes Road improvement scheme. “I’m delighted and incredibly proud that this innovative scheme is recognised by so many transport experts as an example of excellence in design and delivery.

“It really has made cycling between the city centre and neighbourhoods along this route so much safer and more enjoyable, opening up this option for thousands more people.”

The scheme has also been honoured with the European City of the Year for Sustainable Transport award, the Smarter Travel Award for Most Improved Journey to Work , the Local Authority Bus Project of the Year and it was a winner at the National Transport Awards.

World Heritage bid to help save seafront

From The Argus

Maderia_Terrace_web

Conservation leaders are preparing a bid for UNESCO World Heritage Status for Brighton and Hove seafront which would put the site in the same league as the Pyramids and Stonehenge.

If successful, the status could solve the problem of our crumbling seafront with access to European Union funds and the promise of extra promotion and prestige.

Brighton and Hove Heritage Commission is drawing up the bid for Brighton and Hove’s promenade, stretching from Arundel Terrace to Hove Lawns.

The organisation, which is an umbrella group for numerous heritage and community associations across the city, has a strong record of campaigning.

However, Brighton and Hove City Council has refused to back the bid, deeming it a “very expensive process” and warning it could “hamper” plans they have for the area.

While the group has said it would like the council’s backing, it said last night it was determined to go ahead with the bid regardless.

If successful, the status will cover the Madeira Terraces, the Montpelier and Clifton Hill area, the Pavilion Gardens, the seafront arches and the city’s beach.

The status would not only mean extra protection for the site but also advice from the World Heritage Committee and access to money from the World Heritage Fund.

Supporters also claim the status would lead to extra exposure and added prestige.

Roger Amerena, founder of Brighton and Hove Heritage Commission, called on the council to get behind the bid, describing it as key to securing the promenade for the future generations.

He said it would present Brighton and Hove as the “home of the seaside” and would hopefully lead to additional funding to help with repairs.

The news comes as the Victorian Society yesterday listed the 2,837ft long terrace, which is said to be the longest continuous cast iron structure in the country, as one of the country’s top 10 most endangered buildings.

The Argus revealed more than £100 million is needed to carry out repairs to the deteriorating historic seafront, with £30 million needed to renovate the Madeira Terraces.

The terraces on the east side of the Palace Pier have become so badly corroded that businesses have been forced to move and the ironwork has been deemed at risk of “progressive collapse”.

The council has blamed a century of “no significant investment” and “a hostile seafront environment” for the state of the seafront.

On the west side of the pier, investment is already being brought in to help support the neglected area, with £9 million in Government funding being earmarked to restore the Shelter Hall structure at the bottom of West Street.

BEING GRANTED WORLD HERITAGE STATUS MAY SAVE OUR ARCHES

ONCE Victorian ladies and gentleman dressed to the nines strutted along the promenade enjoying the sunshine and the sea air.

But now the area often feels more hard hat than top hat.

The once proud Madeira Terraces are rusting away, surrounded by wire fencing while the seafront arches are in dire need of restoration.

The question “What now?” is the biggest challenge facing the city.

But with a price tag of more than £100 million attached to the answer, there has been is little in the way of progress.

The council certainly has no money, nor does the Government.

But those at the Brighton and Hove Heritage Commission are not going to stand by and let the seafront crumble.

They are preparing an audacious bid for UNESCO World Heritage Status which would see the seafront on the same footing as Machu Picchu, The Acropolis and Sydney Opera House.

World Heritage Status was born in the 1950s in a bid to protect the most important cultural, natural and historic sites in the world. Campaigners argue heritage status for the seafront would give the city official and international recognition as “home of the seaside”.

Through the UNESCO World Heritage Status programme, Liverpool has already been named a maritime mercantile city. And if they can do so, so can we.

It is hoped the status will open doors to funding, in particular money from the European Union which would not otherwise be available.

This could help secure the millions of pounds needed for repairs.

Helmut Lusser, chairman of the Hove Civic Society, one of the organisations under the wing of the Heritage Commission, said: “We are trying to get this bid for the Regency and Victorian seafront and its conservation areas.

“The seafront is the key to the city; everyone recognises it is critical we keep it and we need to get any funding we can find.”

But it is not going to be easy.

To gain World Heritage Status could take up to five years after a stringent selection process which goes through a five-step process.

The seafront must make a tentative list selected by the Government before nomination files are prepared. A nominated property is then independently evaluated by two advisory bodies mandated by the World Heritage Convention.

Once a site has been nominated and evaluated, it is then down to World Heritage Committee and it must then meet at least one out of 10 selection criteria.

The application is also potential costly, with bids costing tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The council has cited costs as one of the reasons it is not going to back the plans.

Roger Amerena, founder of Brighton and Hove Heritage Commission, urged the council to get onboard.

He said: “The proposal would be for Brighton and Hove to be the home of seaside, the best seafront in the United Kingdom.

“Hopefully out of that would be grant aid funding hopefully from UNESCO – that funding will help with the repairs and partial reinstatement of the terraces.”

Despite the council ruling out its involvement, individual councillors have backed the plans.

Tom Druitt, Green spokesman on economic development and culture, said: “The idea of the seafront becoming a UNESCO World Heritage site is very exciting.

“It would perfectly complement our UNESCO Biosphere status, awarded just last year, which celebrates our natural environment and includes the seafront coastline.

“It would also help the city draw in the much-needed funds to continue the seafront restoration that is so sorely needed.”

However, councillor Geoffrey Theobald, leader of the city’s Conservative group, urged caution over the bid due to possible restrictions on planning and business use.

He said: “There are current issues in Liverpool at this very moment in which its historic area could be at risk of losing its World Heritage status due to an upcoming planning project. Therefore this needs to be taken into account.”

The glory days of Brighton and Hove’s seafront were during Victorian times with the original three piers standing proudly in close proximity.

The town became a resort heralded by the arrival of the London to Brighton railway and the promenade became a place to be seen.

Yesterday the Brighton and Hove City Council said they had “no intention of bidding for World Heritage Status” but the Heritage Commission said they would move forward with the bid regardless.

However, council leader Warren Morgan said: “Bidding for World Heritage Status is a very expensive process and would bring little benefit to our city, which is already designated a UNESCO World Biosphere Site.

“It could severely hamper the plans that are already well progressed for new homes, new facilities and restored heritage sites that are already in the pipeline.”